GOLDENDALE – Klickitat County WSU Extension will host its annual Northwest Lamboree, Beef-O-Rama and Porkapalooza May 22 at the Goldendale High School.
Susan Kerr, Klickitat County Extension director, said the Lamboree started in 2005, with the Beef-O-Rama and Porkapalooza added in subsequent years. She said the events are now co-sponsored on the same day instead of over three days due to feedback from families whose members were interested in multiple species. 
The events began when some 4-H leaders in Goldendale decided the youth there needed more education about raising lamb, beef and pork, and that the program would benefit other youth around the Pacific Northwest.
Many rewards
The Lamboree, Beef-O-Rama and Porkapalooza benefit many different groups. When the events turn a profit, Kerr said they can be a fundraiser for county 4-H, which benefits 4-H youth in the form of scholarships to educational events.
She said other groups that benefit include: the respective species associations, by educating youth and adults and promoting careers among these species; the general public, because young producers learn to provide safe, wholesome food; 4-H and Future Farmers of America, by involving and rewarding participants with a fun educational event; and WSU, by encouraging enrollment in animal science and veterinary medicine disciplines.
Kerr said the Lamboree usually has about 100-150 participants, Porkapalooza about 70 and Beef-O-Rama about 20. She said she thinks this reflects the demographics of youth market projects as well as changing rural demographics, since people may just have less room for steers, while sheep and swine take up less space and are less costly to purchase, feed and raise.
Community benefits
The Goldendale community as a whole also benefits from the events. Kerr said the economic benefit is significant, as the events encourage camping and hotel stays, food purchases, gas purchases and also a better knowledge of the area and a willingness of people to return for vacations.
Some other benefits include community service opportunities for youth, volunteer opportunities for adults, a beneficial use of public facilities, a chance for local feed providers to promote their products, and knowledge and skills gained by local 4-H and FFA youth.
“There is a safe, fun, positive atmosphere, with lots of examples of those with more knowledge/skills helping those with less knowledge/skills,” Kerr said. “A key to the program’s success is the willingness of our well-respected presenters to come from afar year after year to share their knowledge.”
All three events consist of formal classroom presentations, hands-on fitting and showing workshops, skill-a-thons, feed displays, some commercial vendors, optional evening fun stations (making a rope halter, crafts, fecal exams, etc.) and many learning-by-doing activities.
Changing with the times
Kerr said this year’s event has been scaled back from two days to one and the registration fee is reduced from $25 (four meals included) to $5 (no meals included). These changes were based on feedback from participants.
“Our event volunteer base has changed somewhat, so we thought this would be a good time to try some of the changes suggested by attendees in the past,” Kerr said. “We’ve already heard from some youth clubs that will be attending for the first time, thanks to the reduced program and registration fee.”
Event planners take feedback provided by participants seriously and try to incorporate all the recommendations they can. One recommendation they will honor as long as they can came from a young first-year participant: “I love the Lamboree! Please have it forever!”